ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2020) - Orlando Pride has acquired New Zealand Women’s National Team defender Ali Riley via transfer from German side FC Bayern Munich. Allocation money was used to acquire and sign Riley, who will join the Club on a one year contract with an option for an additional year.
“We’re delighted to finally come to terms with Ali and Bayern, who we’d also like to thank in making this deal happen. We targeted Ali last year and were unable to come to terms but with the new allocation money, it has provided more roster flexibility and allowed us to go after additional players that historically haven’t been available to the NWSL,” Orlando Pride GM Erik Ustruck said.
“From an on-field standpoint, Ali solidifies and improves our backline heading into 2020, which was a key area of improvement for us this offseason. She provides many things we are looking to add to the team: experience, both domestically and internationally, additional energy to our outside back position and is a perfect fit to the culture we’ve worked to establish over the last year.”
“I heard really great things [about Orlando] from an old friend of mine, Marta, and I also have a lot of respect for [Head Coach] Marc [Skinner] and seeing how his teams play. I think all around — this league, this country, the interest of the women’s game and the growth of this sport, the attention from the media and the fans — it’s something I want to be a part of,” Riley said. “I hope both the mentality and attitude I bring, but also the technical ability and the learnings I’ve had playing at some of the best teams in the world, will help bring a little more confidence and a little bit of something different to contribute to a better season this year.”
Riley, 32, joins the Pride from Bayern Munich Women, where she recorded three appearances after joining the Frauen-Bundesliga in July of last year. Prior to that, she spent a year with Chelsea FC Women of England’s Women’s Super League (WSL), where she totaled nine caps.
In 2019, Riley played in her fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup for New Zealand, where she played the entirety of each of the Football Ferns’ three matches in the tournament. In total, Riley has logged 132 appearances for New Zealand — a team she also currently captains — making her senior national team debut on February 6, 2007. She has since represented her country at three Olympics to add to her vast international resume.
Before her time at Chelsea, Riley spent seven seasons at FC Rosengård of the Damallsvenskan, the highest division of women’s soccer in Sweden. She was a three-time league champion on the Swedish-side, making 132 appearances and scoring four goals from the backline in that time.
Earlier in her career, Riley played in the former Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in the United States. The New Zealander made 24 appearances for FC Gold Pride in 2010 and 16 appearances for the Western New York Flash in 2011, winning the league in both seasons. Upon suspension of the WPS, Riley joined LdB FC Malmo, renamed to FC Rosengård.
Riley comes to Orlando with many ties to the current team, playing with Brazilian midfielder Marta at FC Gold Pride, Western New York and FC Rosengård, while also being teammates with Pride captain Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan on the 2011 Flash championship side.
Riley spent her collegiate career at Stanford University, recording a total of 83 appearances. In that time, the New Zealand defender scored seven goals and garnered numerous accolades for her performances, including a PAC-10 First Team award in her senior season.
Born: October 30, 1987 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Hometown: Pacific Palisades, Calif.
College: Stanford University
Citizenship: USA/New Zealand